DENVER (CBS4) – Three people have been arrested after the murders of five people at a Denver bar on Wednesday.
Denver police said in a news conference Thursday morning that the motive for the crimes was robbery, and that the murders and the fire that was set afterwards at the bar was an isolated incident.
The victims, a man and four women, were:
- Young Fero, 63, of Aurora
- Daria Pohl, 22, of Denver
- Kellene Fallon, 45, of Denver
- Tereasa Beesley, 45, of Denver
- Ross Richter, 29, of Overland Park, Kan.
The medical examiner didn’t release the cause of death. Police haven’t said how they died and wouldn’t discuss whether any weapons were found.
Late Wednesday night police arrested Dexter Lewis, 22, Lynell Hill, 24, and Joseph Hill, 27. All three each tentatively face five charges of first degree murder as well as arson and aggravated robbery charges.
“We feel comfortable that they are the individuals that are accountable for this horrendous crime that occurred, but there’s still much work to be done to make sure that we have a successful prosecution,” Police Chief Robert White said Thursday.
Denver Police and firefighters rushed to Fero’s Bar and Grill on 357 S. Colorado Boulevard at about 1:50 a.m. Wednesday after an officer on routine patrol spotted flames. When firefighters entered the building they found the five bodies inside.
“It appears that the motive of this crime was robbery, that they came in there, I don’t want to say that it was a robbery gone bad, but it wound up being a robbery. The arson was set to try to cover up the crime scene,” Police Commander Ronald Saunier said.
So far authorities aren’t saying how exactly how much damage the fire did to the building, but it appears it was contained inside the business. Investigators think the fire had been burning for about 15 to 20 minutes before the officer spotted it.
Investigators were led to the trio because of some tips that came in after a news conference. Detectives also had help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Marshals Service’s fugitive unit. Saunier said he believes the suspects had been to the bar before. Two of the three suspects have criminal backgrounds in the state of Colorado.
Lewis’ record includes felony menacing, assault and robbery charges. Lynell Hill’s background includes a misdemeanor assault charge and a driving-related offense.
Several people gathered outside the bar on Wednesday night to hold a small candlelight vigil. Young Fero was the owner, and a popular business owner in the area. The Associated Press reported Beesley was listed in state records as the owner of Maxim Lounge, another Denver bar.
Frequent patron Chris Brady went to Fero’s for a regular poker game held Tuesdays and left at about 11 p.m., a few hours before the crime.
“There was nobody random or crazy in there,” Brady said.
Brady said Fero was known for cooking up beef dishes for customers at a moment’s notice and usually would close the bar herself.
She bid him goodnight Tuesday as he paid his tab.
“She said, “Thank you, sweetie. Have a good night,”‘ Brady said. “I said, `You too.”‘
Mike Spinale, one of Fero’s neighbors in Aurora, described her as “really nice.”
“She didn’t speak much, but I know she owned a bar and she worked all the time,” Spinale said. “She told me she did everything herself.”
Danny Fero, who said he was Young Fero’s ex-husband, told The Denver Post the two had met when he was working as a spokesman and photographer for the U.S. Army in Seoul, South Korea, and she was a clerk at the Korean Ministry of Agriculture. The two later married and had a daughter.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)